India: Kolkata gets all-in-one transport card and app that can track buses

The application will provide real-time details of the buses plying along with the seat availability besides the route details. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons) Photograph:( Others )

WION Kolkata, West Bengal, India Mar 16, 2017, 11.34 AM (IST) Pooja Mehta

The West Bengal government on Wednesday introduced an all-in-one transport card much like London’s metropolis smart card, which can be used by commuters for availing different government services like - state-run buses, trams and ferries.
The smart card will be available at major state-run bus depots. One can recharge the prepaid smart card with a base fare of Rs 500 and can go up to Rs 4,000. 

As a pilot project, the smart card facility will be introduced in 700 buses. Later, 300 buses will be added.

Most commuters feel that this will save the hassle of carrying change, especially after Modi’s demonetisation move in November. However, a section of people feel that the all-in-one smart card facility should have been extended to Metro Railways in the city, which serves as a lifeline.

But, state transport minister Suvendu Adhikary said, “The Metro Railways are a part of the Central Government. It is not under control. Hence, the facility could not be extended to the Metro Railways.”

Apart from the smart card, the state’s transport department has launched a smartphone application called “Pathadisha”.
This application will provide real-time details of the buses along with the availability of seats and route details. One can also track the bus.

To begin with, as many as 700 buses will be GPS-enabled. Later, private buses will be added to the application too.
“We are hoping that the private operators will soon realise how important it is to provide navigational support to commuters. This will help improve passenger amenities and safety of commuters,” Adhikary said.
The project is funded by World Bank. Additionally, a Korean Green Growth fund is its development partner.